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How to Conduct a Job Interview

For many of us, being the interviewer is as nerve-racking as being the interviewee. But with a little preparation, you can keep your cool and quickly weed out unqualified applicants.


  • Step 1: Review the resume Reacquaint yourself with the applicant’s resume before they are sitting in front of you.
  • Step 2: Escort them in Shake the candidate’s hand and put them at ease by personally escorting him or her to the interview site, asking if they need anything, like a glass of water or a place to hang their coat, on the way.
  • Step 3: Describe the job Begin by describing the position and its responsibilities. That way, if there is something the applicant finds unacceptable, like having to remember how many sugars you take in your coffee, you’ve saved both of you a lot of time.
  • Step 4: Limit clichéd questions Limit clichéd questions like 'What are your weaknesses?' Some standard questions might be helpful, but don’t feel like you have to ask all the questions that everyone expects.
  • TIP: Don’t ask the candidate’s race, age, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, marital status, ethnicity, place of birth, or anything else personal. It’s not only rude—it’s illegal!
  • Step 5: Ask behavioral questions Ask behavioral questions that require the applicant to tell how they once reacted in a specific situation, like, 'What was an instance where someone you relied on let you down professionally, and what did you do?'
  • Step 6: Determine what they want Try to determine what they’re most qualified to do, and what they want to do—other than get this job. After all, they might be smart and talented, but better suited elsewhere. Ask where they see themselves professionally in 10 years.
  • TIP: Pose questions that require more than a 'yes' or 'no.' 'What did you like best about your last job?' will extract more information than 'Did you enjoy your last job?'
  • Step 7: Solicit questions Ask the candidate if he or she has any questions or concerns. Let’s face it: the applicant is also interviewing you.
  • Step 8: Explain the situation Let the person know where things stand—such as whether you’re interviewing lots of candidates—and when they can expect to hear one way or another. It’s unprofessional to leave applicants dangling—even unqualified ones.
  • FACT: According to one survey, 21% of adults say they have been asked an improper or inappropriate question in a job interview.

You Will Need

  • A job applicant
  • The candidateu2019s resume
  • And some privacy

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